Rail freight gets a boost to be the competitive and reliable choice of transport
Posted: 15 June 2010 | | No comments yet
European rail freight transport is well on its track to become as competitive, efficient and reliable as…
European rail freight transport is well on its track to become as competitive, efficient and reliable as...
European rail freight transport is well on its track to become as competitive, efficient and reliable as passenger traffic. The European Parliament voted in its second reading in favour of new legislation creating a network of freight corridors, which would allow trains to pass easily from one national network to another and reduce congestion.
European Rail Infrastructure Managers, which represents nearly half of the European rail networks and passenger transport, and UNIFE the association of the European rail industry welcome this decision. These measures will allow a greater reliability of rail freight traffic while keeping passenger traffic performance at the best possible level.
“These corridors will enhance the competitiveness of rail freight in Europe by removing some of the obstacles that freight still encounters along the most important axes across the continent,” said EIM’s head of political section Dan Wolff.
EU freight corridors would link at least two member states, be part of the TEN-T (Trans-European Network for Transport) program and hence eligible for EU funding.
“Even though this regulation is an important step towards making rail freight more reliable, more will have to be done in the near future in order to enable rail freight to unfold its benefits as the most environmentally friendly mode of transport.”, says UNIFE Director-General, Michael Clausecker.
Six of the corridors should be ready three years after the regulation comes into force. It should cover key freight routes, for example the Zeebrugge-Antwerp/Rotterdam-Duisburg-Milan-Genova corridor. Another three corridors should be established after five years.
EIM and UNIFE also welcome the compromise on One-Stop-Shops, that should deal with operator’s requests for the use of train paths crossing at least one border in an effective way.
“The agreement on One-Stop-Shops (OSS) marks an important progress on one of the most contentious issues. As the European Commission explained, this OSS may very well be an existing infrastructure manager. Therefore, no additional bureaucratic burdens need to be created, despite there being one OSS for each corridor,” says Dan Wolff.
The European Parliament supported a compromise negotiated with the EU member states in the previous weeks.
Rail freight is a green and sustainable mode of transport and it is expected to boom in the next decade. Currently, rail is the least integrated transport mode at EU level, leading to delays, extra costs and insufficient use of the potential of rail freight. Majority of goods are currently shipped by road and future increases present a major challenge for industry and the environment.